BUSINESS STRATEGY & GROWTH • March 30, 2016
1 minute Read
You’ve heard the rumors. ERP implementation can help transform your small business. But what does this acronym stand for? And how can you break through the overwhelming amount of information to use it in your business? Here’s a simple breakdown to help you understand why everyone seems to be talking about ERP.
What is ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning is a business process management software that integrates the essential aspects of running a business into one system including inventory and order management, HR, accounting and customer relationship management. This streamlines an organization’s processes and information into one complete system.
An ERP system relies on a shared database that multiple departments can use for their various needs. Instead of each employee keeping their own spreadsheets and databases, an ERP system allows staff to pull reports from one place.
Selecting and implementing ERP
As competition increases in every industry, ERP becomes an important business investment. Companies are implementing ERP software solutions to improve operations and customer response times. But it’s important to choose an ERP solution that meets the specific needs of your business. Once you select a software package that fits your industry and company needs, an implementation plan will send you on your way to success. There are four basic steps to implementation:
Make a plan
Create a team with employees from all departments including senior management, sales, customer service, operations, purchasing and any other relevant positions. Identify which processes need to be improved, could be automated or any areas where people are spending too much time. Develop a plan complete with a timeline, end goal, and list of individual responsibilities.
Review the software
Spend a few days with the team for training and reviewing of the software capabilities. Establish SOPs (standard operating procedures) for each part of your business to prepare for employee training. Keep working documents and modify them as procedures grow and develop. Practice with the project team before extending the software to the rest of the company. Run through realistic scenarios to test for accuracy and make sure the software works well with any other systems used by your business.
Create training materials, like notes and handouts, and set up training sessions. You should also provide optional refresher training on an ongoing basis. Once training is complete, check with the project team to see if any adjustments are needed.
Observe and evaluate the ERP solution and tie the results back to your original plan and goals. You’ll want to review the system’s performance regularly to make sure you’re maximizing ROI. If problems arise, be patient and committed and you’ll eventually realize the benefits of a prosperous ERP.
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